Having made a big batch of apple butter, I thought it would taste lovely in a cake. So I baked a rum raisin apple butter cake, frosted with spiced vanilla buttercream. What could be better for winter than such cozy, warming, delicious flavors, right? I also made a gingerbread house from scratch, which I had intended to place on top of the cake. But the house ended up much bigger than I planned. So I just decorated my cake with some pretty piped peaks of buttercream, like snow-covered mountain tops.
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How to Make Rum Raisin Apple Butter Cake
This is a “whisk and bake” kind of cake, which is the easiest to make. You don’t need to cream the butter and sugar, simply whisk together the dry ingredients, whisk in the liquid ingredients and bake. This rum raisin apple butter cake is so moist and flavorful, and just delicious with the spiced vanilla buttercream. Another fantastic option would be cream cheese buttercream.
- All-Purpose Flour. Creates a structured cake batter.
- Dark Brown Sugar. Adds sweetness, moisture, and a hint of molasses flavor.
- Baking Soda. Leavens the cake, making it rise.
- Coarse Kosher Salt. Balances the sweetness.
- Apple Butter. Adds flavor, moisture and spice.
- Vegetable Oil. Adds moisture.
- Whole Milk. For moisture and richness.
- Spiced Rum. Adds flavor. Be sure to use a dark spiced rum, not a white rum. Although the alcohol bakes off, for an alcohol-free version, substitute the rum with water.
- Eggs. Adds richness and structure.
- Vanilla Extract. Flavor.
- Raisins. A delicious textural contrast to the soft cake.
Whisk the Batter and Bake.
In a bowl, whisk together the flour, brown sugar, baking soda and salt. Add the wet ingredients and whisk to combine, then fold in the raisins. Cake making doesn’t get easier than this.
Divide the batter between greased pans and bake until done. Be sure to cool the cakes completely before frosting them.
Make the Buttercream.
If you haven’t read my post, How to Make Perfect American Buttercream, you really should. I’ve shared a wealth of information to help you make the best buttercream you’ve ever tasted.
I paired my rum raisin apple butter cake with spiced vanilla buttercream with a pinch of salt, and it’s just fantastic.
A Homemade Gingerbread House for Christmas
We’ve been decorating for Christmas this week and brought home our first real tree. It smells wonderfully of pine and winter and cozy evenings at home.
I baked gingerbread, too, having rolled out the dough and cut the house from templates I drew up. The gingerbread is heavily spiced, and so fragrant, its scent filling our kitchen with the aromas of molasses, cinnamon, ginger and cloves.
After assembling the sides, roof and chimney with royal icing, I thinned out the icing with a little water to decorate the house, embellishing it with drifts of snow and dripping icicles. It was my first time baking and decorating a gingerbread house from scratch, and it was so much work that I have no intention of letting anyone eat it.
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Rum Raisin Apple Butter Cake
- Stand Mixer
- 3 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
- 1 ½ cups dark brown sugar, lightly packed
- 1 ½ tsp baking soda
- ½ tsp coarse Kosher salt
- 1 ½ cups apple butter
- ½ cup vegetable oil
- ⅔ cup whole milk
- ¼ cup dark spiced rum
- 3 large eggs, lightly beaten
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- ½ cup raisins
- 1 ½ cups powdered sugar
- 1 tbsp meringue powder, optional
- ¼ tsp coarse Kosher salt
- ½ tsp cinnamon
- ¼ tsp nutmeg
- ⅛ tsp cloves
- 1 ½ tsp vanilla extract
- 2-4 tbsp milk or cream, if needed
- Preheat the oven to 350, and spray the bottoms of three 8-inch cake pans with non-stick spray.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, brown sugar, baking soda and salt.
- Add the apple butter, oil, milk, rum, eggs and vanilla, and whisk until combined. Fold in the raisins.
- Divide the batter between the pans. Bake on the center oven rack for about 20-22 minutes, until a cake tester or toothpick comes out clean.
- Set the pans on a cooling rack, cover loosely with a clean kitchen towel, and cool completely.
- In the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the butter for 1 minute. With the mixer on low, add the powdered sugar and meringue powder and mix to combine.
- Add the remaining ingredients and whip for 4-5 minutes on medium high speed until very light and fluffy. Only add the milk if needed for desired consistency.
- Fill, stack and frost the cooled cakes with the buttercream.